The forbidden land of Mustang has been opened to limited number of foreign visitors. Lo Manthang, capital of Mustang, is located north of the main Himalayan chain between the snow-capped mountain on the east and west. It is part of Nepal that has jutted inside Tibet. We cross the dull, dusty, barren and high passes (average 4600m) on foot to reach the enigmatic land. The weather is generally dry throughout the year. Most of the historical sites and villages are located in the valley at the elevation of 3300 to 4000 meter.
We take you by flight to Jomsom, a remote airstrip in the mountain, and travel north. As you ascend to higher elevation you come across patches of green vegetation on the western side of Mustang and in places where small rivers flows down from Mustang himal. It is amazing to see the landscape that keeps changing with the light of the sun. The panoramic view of Nilgiri and Damodar himal are in the south and east and the dull and gray rolling hills spreads to Tibetan plateau.
At Lo-Manthang you will find the houses and monasteries enclosed in the fortress. We will also visit some of the major villages around Lo Manthang that has historic gompas and caves. At the monastery at Tsarang we can see valuable fresco painting on its walls. There are several caves used by people long time back. Historian and archeologist believe that human civilization of Mustang dates back to 800 BC. Indeed Mustang is totally another world.
People of Lo-Manthang are called Lobas. Their surname is same as that of Bista and Gurung ethnicity of middle hills but their way of life and cultural practice is typically of Tibetan. Many of them have two names – one is Hindu and other is Buddhist. The land and people can still mesmerized anyone like it did to Tony Hagen, a Swiss geologist, Giuseppe Tucci- an Italian scholar, and a French adventurer – Michael Peissel who traveled to Mustang in between 1952 to 1962. Little has changed since then. This kingdom was closed for foreigners for about 3 decades. It was opened for tourist only in 1991. Since then the government have allowed only limited visitors. This old salt trading route of the Trans Himalayan region is bound to change dramatically in due course of time when the road from the north and south eventually link the capital to Jomsom.